How to conduct a personal quarterly review
In this post I outline my quarterly review process. If you’d like to have this as a workbook you can print out or type your responses into, grab it here.
If you are a stock investor, you know the importance of the quarterly earnings report. Four times a year, publicly traded companies report on their performance for the prior three months, and their expected results in the next three. These reports are some of the most critical pieces of information investors have for determining the future success of the companies they are invested in.
So what about you and your personal performance? How invested are you in yourself? Reflecting on your results and revising your plans on a quarterly basis is one of the best things you can do to make sure you are on track to achieve your most important life goals.
If you tend to only think about your goals once a year, shifting to a quarterly mentality will provide a whole host of benefits. Setting three month goals will sharpen your focus, encouraging you to set smaller, more clearly defined goals (as we tend to overestimate what we can get done in the short term and underestimate what we can get done in the long term). Setting quarterly deadlines for your goals will give you deadline-induced productivity benefits (how many times have you set yearly goals, only to get around to them in the last few months of the year? What kind of results would you get if you compressed that experience so you had it four times a year instead of one?). Reflecting on your past performance on a quarterly basis means you will learn about where you excel and where you have difficulty much faster and provide you the opportunity to course-correct, saving yourself tons of lost time and energy drifting between half-finished (half-started?) goals.
Do yourself a favor. Start a quarterly review habit now.
How I conduct my quarterly review
My personal quarterly review consists of two parts: reflecting on the previous quarter and planning for the next. I set aside an hour or two to work through the process, in a distraction free environment where I can be focused on the task at hand. I like to write my review out by hand, and I make sure to have everything I need (calendar, task lists, coffee) ready to go. Then I simply write my responses to the following questions:
Reflecting on the previous quarter
Q1: What did I accomplish in the past three months?
Q2: What helped my achieve these results?
Q3: What else went well?
Q4: What did I start but not finish?
Q5: What did I not start that I intended to?
Q6: What else happened that didn’t go well?
Q7: Overall, how do I feel about the past three months?
Planning for the next quarter
Q1: How do I want to feel over the next three months?
Q2: What do I want to start doing / do more of / do less of / stop doing?
Q3: What is ONE THING I can accomplish in the next three months that would impact my life in a meaningful way?
Q4: What are some concrete steps I can take to achieve this?
Q5: What other goals will I accomplish the next three months?
Q6: Overall how am I feeling about the next quarter?
Q7: What beliefs or values that I hold will most assist me in achieving my goals for the next quarter?
Q8: What are three words that describe my next quarter?
That’s it! That’s my formula for conducting a personal quarterly review. If you’d like to have these questions in a printable workbook with some additional instructions, download my free Art of Lifecrafting Quarterly Review Workbook.